Football: African players will stay in clubs before Nations Cup

Soccer Football – African Under-23 Cup – Group A – Egypt U23 v Cameroon U23 – Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt – November 14, 2019 Cameroonian Victor Sylvestre Mpindi Ekani in action REUTERS / Mohamed Abd El Ghany / File Photo

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CAPE TOWN, Dec.26 (Reuters) – Footballers who take part in the African Cup of Nations finals next month will be allowed to play for their clubs until January 3, the African Football Confederation said on Sunday ( CAF).

Many had to miss matches due to the rule that clubs must release players 14 days before a continental championship or the World Cup.

But CAF has agreed to allow players whose clubs have matches between December 27 and January 3 to play them before joining their national teams for the final phase of the Nations Cup, which begins in Cameroon on January 9.

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This will provide relief to English clubs who were due to lose their African players by the official release date of December 27, although some have made individual arrangements for players to stay with them as long as possible before the start of the season. tournament.

“This decision is taken in a spirit of goodwill and solidarity with the clubs concerned in recognition of the fact that they, like all members of the football community, have been affected by the onset of the COVID pandemic,” said said a FIFA letter sent. Sunday at the World Leagues Forum and the European Leagues regroup.

Both organizations criticized the Nations Cup schedule in the middle of the club season in Europe, where the majority of players involved in the tournament play their club football.

But FIFA said CAF decided to offer relief to the clubs.

“It is also assumed that a spirit of mutual cooperation remains between CAF and all relevant stakeholders in this regard, particularly with regard to the release of players and the provision of sports exemptions from travel restrictions and quarantine if necessary in the future, ”added the letter from FIFA Deputy Secretary General Mattias Grafstrom.

The Nations Cup finals schedule has long been a bone of contention for club officials, and future tournaments are expected to be played in the middle of the year.

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Reporting by Mark Gleeson, editing by Ed Osmond

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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